By definition, innovation is the introduction of something new, whether a method, product or service. To a company, it is one of the most valued processes – an ideal constantly strived for. Understanding the importance of innovation and enabling an innovative environment can completely transform the workplace and products/services. But how can it be facilitated? How can a business create an environment that drives innovation?
Below are 3 ways to help turn individual creativity into a tool to carve out the path for innovation at every level of business.
Encourage people to solve their own problems.
People are required to solve problems in their personal lives daily, but they may not always feel comfortable doing so under the scrutiny of those more experienced at work. By encouraging and empowering employees to take ownership of work-related challenges and with the liberty to develop their own solutions, they will see that no problem is unbeatable. In time, this process will become a part of everyone’s daily regimen.
Everyone has their own unique approach to problem solving. By encouraging this process, hundreds of new ideas and solutions will form – from propelling a current product or service to the forefront of the marketplace to developing new products and solutions. Instead of just one or two opinions of executives leading the path to innovation, many minds can contribute ideas and solutions that can better question and drive future innovation.
Create a positive working environment, including rewards for creativity and development.
Encourage employees at every level to further their education, to get a new license or accreditation. By promoting from within, employees have the chance to climb the corporate ladder while experiencing every level of the business. When they get promoted, the knowledge of the previous position will follow them – giving them a broader understanding of how each level of the company works and a greater appreciation for the company as a whole.
Even little things like celebrating staff birthdays and accomplishments as a collective group will have an impact. When people feel appreciated and their work valued, they are more inclined to strive for innovation and excellence.
Hold regular multi-disciplinary brainstorming sessions.
Once a month or quarter, hold a multi-disciplinary “Brainstorming Session”. By bringing employees together at all levels and across disciplines to the table for discussion of ideas, processes, and gaps in the marketplace, you will have fresh and varied perspectives that when combined, can spark new and market-leading innovations. These sessions can also foster a positive working environment, allowing everyone to bring ideas to the table and their voice heard in a less stressful environment.
The company’s next great idea could be held in the mind of someone fresh out of college, who might feel like they don’t want to overstep their boundaries. Or it could be germinating in the mind of the CEO, who just needed to brainstorm with that new hire to produce that fresh, missing piece of the puzzle.